Celeb chef Corrigan to create 70 jobs in Cavan as London restaurants enjoy 'record year'
Celebrity chef Richard Corrigan yesterday announced the creation of 70 jobs at his 17th Century lodge, the Park Hotel in Virginia, Co Cavan.
Mr Corrigan announced the jobs for his 100-acre Virginia venture as he confirmed that his London group of restaurants is set for "a record year" in 2014 in terms of revenues and profits.
"Business is brilliant at the moment," he said yesterday. "London is on a massive roll and doesn't seem to have the peaks and troughs that Ireland goes through."
The Meath man was commenting on new accounts for his Richard Corrigan Restaurants (Holdings) Ltd that show that his business increased revenues by 4pc to £9.3m as profits jumped by 27pc to £696,316 (€867,496) last year.
The chef operates Bentley's Oyster Bar and Grill, Corrigan's Mayfair and Bentley's Sea Grill at Harrods.
The restaurant group sells over 15,000 oysters per week from September to the following May every year.
"I'm a lucky guy, but we have worked hard," he said. "I don't forget nights not sleeping on the couch when times were tough."
The London business now employs 260 and Mr Corrigan announced his intention to have 60 to 70 people employed at his Co Cavan project by next summer. "We have been turning our attentions to Ireland," he said.
Mr Corrigan spent £1.2m purchasing the property last year and has since spent another £1.1m on upgrading it since. "It was in a sorry state when I bought it, but we are making a huge investment in it," Mr Corrigan said.
Personally overseeing the project for the past seven months, Mr Corrigan said that the Lodge will be used for hunting and pleasure for groups and also be used for weddings.
"I also intend to put in place a semi-professional cookery school and a restaurant which I hope to have opened within 18 months. It is a phenomenal operation," he added.
Around seven people are currently employed at the site that already supplies fresh produce to Corrigan's London restaurants.
He said: "It is unique to the sector. The house accommodation will have all the formalities of a hotel but feel like your home."
Raising the prospect of re-entering the Dublin restaurant scene, Mr Corrigan said that he "might" open up a vegetarian restaurant in the capital stocked with produce from Virginia.
Mr Corrigan said his business is debt free, remarking: "I'm the captain of a steady ship, not a power boat. I'm very happy that we are still very much a food- focused business and haven't gone corporate. I'm very happy with how we have grown in a beautiful manner."
Mr Corrigan is one of two directors and directors' remuneration totalled £280,509 with the top-paid directors receiving £260,509.
Mr Corrigan controls the business and last year received a £81,250 dividend.
Staff costs stood at £3.64m. Shareholder funds totalled £1.9m including cash of £1m.